Thursday 31 December 2020

The Obligatory But Pointless End Of Year Post

I absolutely understand that nobody really wants a 2020 round up, at least not one that is more substantial than a video of a person screaming while their hair is on fire.  Everything is awful, let's accept that and move on.  I do, however, want to do a little bit of housekeeping.

Let's take a look at the West Midlands Railway map, shall we?  I've crossed off all the stations I managed to visit this year.

Okay, we might need to zoom in.

And a bit more.

Bearley, Claverdon, Nuneaton, Bermuda Park, Bedworth, Coventry Arena.  Six stations in two trips, with the final trip on March 10th.  And that was the last time I got on a train anywhere.  I've gone nearly ten months without ever hearing the whirr of an electric engine or the chug of a diesel.  The closest I've got is (socially distantly) visiting my mum and seeing the odd train move behind her back wall.  Nothing since.  It's weird, and a little bit of me is anxious about the day I do eventually go back.  Masks and hand sanitizer and alternate seats to maintain two metres distant.  It sounds... stressful.

Anyway, those six stations changed the total number of stations done, even if it was only by a fraction.  Unfortunately, in February, West Midlands Railway also revised the map and added eight new ones (plus a tram stop) so I've actually ended the year with a net decrease in the percentage of the map I've completed.  It stands at 38% of the total, which is still not bad considering I only started the West Midlands Project in 2019.  If the pandemic hadn't spoiled things for everyone I'd have probably been at about two thirds by now.  

Elsewhere in station news, Horden railway station was added to the map, between Seaham and Hartlepool.  That'll have to be visited someday, of course.  Perhaps I'll treat myself to a week in Newcastle and polish off the Metro while I'm there; it celebrated its 40th anniversary this year and I've always wanted to whizz around it.  Assuming the vaccine hits and civilisation as we know it fails to collapse.

I also have a small query.  Over the autumn I recapped my trip through North Wales, something I'd done for a book idea but which never went any further.  It took me a while because I had to reach into my memory banks and I also had to try and decipher my scrawls in my battered notebook.  But the question is: would you like more of this kind of thing?  Here's the other places I visited in 2016 but haven't written up:

The Borders Railway from Edinburgh to Tweedbank

The Wherry Lines from Norwich to Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth

The East London Line from New Cross/New Cross Gate to Highbury & Islington

The Island Line from Ryde Pier Head to Shanklin

So would you be interested in me writing that up?  It'd give me something to do, it'd keep the blog from dying, it'd pass the time.  On the other hand, five year old observations about the railways aren't exactly fascinating - I was doing the Wherry Lines the day of the Brexit Referendum and are we really sure we want to drag all that up again?  It might be interesting but I haven't written it up so far so there might be a reason for that, you know?

Have a mull and let me know what you think, either in the comments here or on Twitter @merseytart.  In the meantime have stay at home in front of the telly, open some wine, and have a good New Year.  We'll all be back together one day.